RussiaDecember 5 2022, 9:47 am

Russia Reframes Ukraine Invasion as War on “Satanism”, US Rightwing is Likely Audience

US media is report­ing that Rus­sia is refram­ing its jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the inva­sion of Ukraine by mov­ing away from “denaz­i­fi­ca­tion” to the “com­plete de-Sataniza­tion” of Ukraine. Accord­ing to the Wash­ing Post report, the Rus­sians are try­ing to appeal to the US right wing and ele­ments of the Repub­li­can Par­ty oppos­ing US aid to Ukraine:

Novem­ber 17, 2022 Nine months ago, Rus­sia claimed its inva­sion of Ukraine was nec­es­sary to dri­ve out the Ukrain­ian neo-Nazis alleged­ly in con­trol of Kyiv. Now the Krem­lin has switched tac­tics. Russ­ian offi­cials in late Octo­ber reframed the goal of the war as a mis­sion to bring about a “com­plete de-Sataniza­tion” of Ukraine. Alex­ei Pavlov, assis­tant to Niko­lai Patru­shev — a close ally of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and sec­re­tary of the Russ­ian Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil — also accused U. S. lead­ers of back­ing the spread of satan­ic church­es in Ukraine. The shift in Krem­lin rhetoric comes amid Russ­ian mil­i­tary set­backs in key Ukrain­ian ter­ri­to­ries. How­ev­er, the reframed goal also coin­cid­ed with the clos­ing weeks of the U. S. midterm elec­tions, as mem­bers of the Repub­li­can Par­ty dou­bled down on anti­war rhetoric. With the MAGA wing of the par­ty threat­en­ing to reverse Pres­i­dent Biden’s mil­i­tary and human­i­tar­i­an aid to Ukraine, those who sup­port­ed these can­di­dates were also ramp­ing up the memes and mes­sag­ing that equate Biden with the dev­il him­self. Vic­to­ries by pro-Trump Repub­li­cans in the midterms could have obstruct­ed the Biden administration’s sup­port for Ukraine. In this light, the call by Krem­lin pro­pa­gan­dists to rid Ukraine of the dev­il also appeared to tar­get U. S. vot­ers on the far right, with the goal of boost­ing their dis­trust in the U. S. polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment — as well as boost U. S. sym­pa­thy for Russia’s war. Rus­sians are not the only audi­ence As Russ­ian troops invad­ed, Russia’s state media was instru­men­tal in spread­ing claims that Ukraine need­ed to be “de-Naz­i­fied.” The recent shift toward de-Sataniza­tion might help gal­va­nize reli­gious extrem­ists with­in the Russ­ian mil­i­tary, who have voiced their dis­ap­point­ment in Russia’s progress to date. But state-spon­sored pro­pa­gan­da isn’t tar­get­ed exclu­sive­ly toward domes­tic sup­port­ers. Research finds that auto­crats also deploy pro­pa­gan­da to present a pos­i­tive image of them­selves abroad and to cul­ti­vate spe­cif­ic groups or indi­vid­u­als that are key to help­ing them pro­mote their narratives.

Read the rest here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed last week on an arti­cle from inde­pen­dent Russ­ian media ana­lyz­ing the impact of the Russ­ian inva­sion of Ukraine on the coun­try’s attempts to posi­tion itself as the leader of the Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive Alliance (GNCA). Accord­ing to that article,

Over the past decade, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has tak­en pains to present itself as a bas­tion of Chris­tian­i­ty and tra­di­tion­al val­ues. The Krem­lin has used this image of reli­gios­i­ty and its close rela­tion­ship with the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church as a mech­a­nism to pro­mote its inter­ests domes­ti­cal­ly, as well as cul­ti­vate ties with sim­i­lar­ly fun­da­men­tal­ist-mind­ed sup­port­ers abroad.

Read the rest here.

The Glob­al Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive (GNCA) alliance is described in a GIOR report as follows:

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent PUTIN has expressed an inter­est in Rus­sia becom­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a new glob­al con­ser­v­a­tive alliance, and Euro­pean far-right lead­ers have tak­en pro-Russ­ian posi­tions based on a sim­i­lar ide­ol­o­gy. Hun­gary is at the cen­ter of a devel­op­ing alliance between Euro­pean far-right nation­al­ists and Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives that Rus­sia could poten­tial­ly exploit for use in infor­ma­tion war­fare. This alliance oper­ates under the rubric of “Nation­al Con­ser­vatism,” cen­tered on nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and oppo­si­tion to glob­al insti­tu­tions and rep­re­sent­ing a poten­tial­ly rad­i­cal change for the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment away from long-held Rea­gan-era philosophies.

Read the full report here.

GIOR report­ed in Novem­ber on the Chris­t­ian nation­al­ist wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and its role in sup­port­ing Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin while oppos­ing mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine. The GIOR also  report­ed in Novem­ber that the direc­tor of the new Brus­sels branch of the Math­ias Corv­i­nus Col­legium (MCC), a pri­vate Hun­gar­i­an res­i­den­tial col­lege fund­ed by a mas­sive dona­tion of pub­lic funds, that hos­til­i­ty towards Hun­gary was in part moti­vat­ed by the coun­try’s defense of Chris­tian­i­ty from Euro­pean ‘cul­ture warriors.”



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